Bomman (Vikram Prabhu) makes a living renting his elephant Manikkam for temple functions and marriages. Because of a medical emergency in a mahout's family, he takes up the job of keeping a wild tusker out of a village nestled deep in the forests. Though Manickam is not a kumki (elephant used to train or drive away wild elephants), they stay on after Bomman falls in love with the village chieftain's daughter Alli (Lakshmi Menon). But there is a heavy price to pay.
M M A Chinappa Devar was a pioneer in using animals in his films, and tasted success in both the Hindi and Tamil industries with movies such as
Haathi Mere Saathi
. Producer-director Rama Narayanan followed in his footsteps, though he was not as successful. Sadly, films featuring animals have now become very rare, the last being
that was released in 2010.
, Prabu Solomon's ode to love in the times of elephant attacks, holds a lot of promise but sadly flatters only to deceive. The movie starts well, with the director establishing early on the bond shared by Manikkam and Bomman and these are among the best parts of the movie. Bomman walking off in a huff after getting angry with his uncle (played by Thambi Ramaiah) and Manikkam and the latter trying to make up with him is a very moving sequence. Another is the one where Bomman breaks down after being separated from Manikkam by forest department officials after his licence documents are lost.
The director squanders an opportunity to further explore this relationship or the kumki portions by choosing to focus on Bomman and his love for Alli. But the long drawn out sequences do not help in taking the story forward, though Thambi Ramaiah's wisecracks are faintly amusing. And when the crucial confrontation with the wild tusker finally takes place in the climax, the audience is just waiting for the movie to come to an end. Not that the clumsy graphics provide any succour.
If there is something that prevents you from taking your eyes off the screen, it is K Sukumar's amazing work behind the camera. He brilliantly captures the forest in all its hues, and the songs provide a visual treat to the audience.
The movie is an unconventional debut vehicle for Vikram Prabu, grandson of the legendary Sivaji Ganesan and son of Prabhu, and Lakshmi Menon, though the second movie she signed up for,
, released first and went on to become very successful. Vikram is ruggedly handsome and makes a good impression, though he comes out a bit raw in the emotional scenes. His performance though does mark him out as an actor to watch out for. Lakshmi has been aptly cast as Alli, and is a treat to watch.
After his good work in Prabu Solomon's earlier hit
, Imman does one better in
with one melody after another.
Sollitaley Ava Kaadhala...
(K J Ranjith and Shreya Ghoshal) are the pick of the lot, though the other songs also impress.